Friday, 27 December 2013

Number of Women in Politics in Cambodia

Finding out why women’s voices are not being listened to is imperative to increasing the proportion of female political representation in Cambodia.

The Committee to Promote Women in Politics (CPWP) – which is made up of 12 organisations – hosted discussions in the capital that included discussion about the importance of having a legislative population that is at least 25 per cent female, one of Cambodia’s Millenium Goals. In the National Assembly women claimed just over 20 per cent of the 123 National Assembly seats in July’s national election comparison with men in the Senate, women hold 8 of the 61 seats, representing only 13 percent. Timor Leste boasts 29.2 percent women in the Assembly while Lao has 25.2 percent in the Senate.

The percentage of Cambodian women in Parliament is low in comparison to that in other countries, such as Timor Leste, Lao PDR and Viet Nam. To reach the participation levels that experts believe will lead to achieving the MDGs will require 30 percent women’s representation in national legislatures by 2015.

Twenty-one percent of National Assembly members are women. The Senate has created a Women’s Department and a new high-level position of Senior Women and Gender Advisor to the President of the Senate. Thirty percent of the Senate Secretariat General staff is women. Programmes are already in place to ensure that at least one of the three members of every village commission is a woman. National policy states that every Provincial Deputy Governor should be a woman. Policies are also in place specifying that 30 percent of the civil service staff should be women.

Adding women to the positions of secretaries of state and under-secretaries of state Labour Ministry in the fourth and fifth mandate was a step in the right direction, said a report by election watchdog the Committee for Free and Fair Elections but women in positions of power typically hold only deputy positions giving them less power.

Poverty has a woman’s face. Economic inequality underlies many of the challenges to achieving MDG3. “Globally, 6 of every 10 of the world’s poorest people are women and girls. In Cambodia, economic opportunities for women are still constrained, with most credit, training extension and support programs not sufficiently tailored to their needs.

Seeing similar improvement, Deputy Prime Minister Ms. Men Sam An said that the Cambodian government had made progress in education, providing scholarships for women in higher education, building more educational institutions and accommodations, and increasing employment opportunities for women. In the health sector, progress has been made in making health care available, providing nutritional assistance, and preventing HIV and other infectious diseases.

“From mandate to mandate, there is a change and advancement for women at every level.”

Written by Kimleang

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